El Monte

El Monte

[el mon-tee]
El Monte, city (1990 pop. 106,209), Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1912. A residential, industrial, and commercial city in the San Gabriel Valley, El Monte manufactures furniture, electronic equipment, semiconductors, chemicals, and plastic and metal products. The population has increased by more than 40% since the 1970s, diminishing the walnut groves the city is known for. El Monte was founded in 1852 by westward-bound pioneers on the Santa Fe Trail.
"El Monte" redirects here; for the city in Chile, see El Monte, Chile.

El Monte is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States, and is considered a suburb of Los Angeles. The city's slogans are "the end of the Santa Fe Trail" and "Welcome to Friendly El Monte." As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 115,965. As of 2002, El Monte is the 191st largest city in the United States. It was also the 44th largest city in California. El Monte Lies in the San Gabriel Valley region East of the city of Los Angeles. It is Highly mistaken as East LA.


Settlement began in 1849, though missionaries and Spanish soldiers passed through the area as early as the 1770s. The Old Spanish Trail, originating in Santa Fe, New Mexico passed through El Monte. During the 1930s, the city became an important site for the New Deal's federal Subsistence Homestead project, a Resettlement Administration program that helped supply single-family ranch houses to qualifying applicants. Celebrated photographer Dorothea Lange snapped several pictures of the housing units as part of her work for the Farm Security Administration.

The community of El Monte was the first in California founded by American Anglos. Once home to many settlers from the 1930s era Dust Bowl Migration, the city became increasingly Latino and is often viewed as a stronghold of Latinos. However, the city has experienced a rapid growth in the Asian population - particularly ethnic Chinese, Taiwanese, and Vietnamese - in recent years. Several small Vietnamese businesses have since cropped up along the stretch of Garvey Avenue.

El Monte was the birthplace of John Larkin, also known as (Scatman John) and briefly home to author James Ellroy until his mother Geneva was murdered there, and to musician Joe McDonald, who performed in the 1960s with Country Joe & the Fish. Cheech Marin of Cheech and Chong fame was a resident, as was Frank Zappa, who referenced El Monte Legion Stadium in his song "Dog Breath in the Year of the Plague." El Monte is also the home of local columnist and decathlete John Orona. Former Baseball Great Fred Lynn also lived in El Monte. A popular local attraction from 1925-1942 was Gay's Lion Farm. The famous live lion farm no longer exists, but a memorial statue can be seen next to the I-10 freeway on the SE corner of Valley Blvd. and Peck Road. Actor-filmmaker Timothy Carey filmed much of his celebrated underground feature "The World's Greatest Sinner" (1962) in El Monte. El Monte is also credited with being the birth place of TV Variety Shows. El Monte is also famous for the American Legion dance hall (the 'it' place at the time). Some Famous singers who performed there include: Ritchie Valens, Rosie & The Originals, Brenton Wood, and Earth Wind & Fire. The stadium is also famous for making long time Dj's Art Laboe, and Huggy Boy very loved and famed. Unfortunately the Stadium was torn down due to the Gang brawls, and many fist fights with the Pachucos, or Zoot Suits.

Name origin

According to the city website: "Between the 1770s and 1830s, missionaries and Spanish soldiers stopped here, and named the area, 'El Monte,' which referred not to the mountain as most assume, but to that era's definition—'meadow or marsh' or 'the wooded place.'"


El Monte is located at (34.073276, -118.027491).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.7 square miles (25.1 km²), of which, 9.6 square miles (24.7 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.4 km²) of it (1.44%) is water.


As of the census of 2000, there were 115,965 people, 27,034 households, and 23,005 families residing in the city. The population density was 12,139.5 people per square mile (4,688.4/km²). There were 27,758 housing units at an average density of 2,905.8/sq mi (1,122.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 35.67% White, 0.77% Black or African American, 1.38% Native American, 18.51% Asian, 0.12% Pacific Islander, 39.27% from other races, and 4.29% from two or more races. 72.39% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 27,034 households out of which 53.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.0% were married couples living together, 18.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 14.9% were non-families. 10.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 4.24 and the average family size was 4.43.

In the city the population was spread out with 34.1% under the age of 18, 12.1% from 18 to 24, 31.5% from 25 to 44, 15.4% from 45 to 64, and 6.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 27 years. For every 100 females there were 102.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $32,439, and the median income for a family was $32,402. Males had a median income of $21,789 versus $19,818 for females. The per capita income for the city was $10,316. About 22.5% of families and 26.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 33.9% of those under age 18 and 13.3% of those age 65 or over.

El Monte's population has grown very rapidly during the last half century:

  • 1960 - 31,900
  • 1970 - 70,975
  • 1980 - 79,494
  • 1990 - 106,209
  • 2000 - 115,965
  • 2004 - 122,123 (estimate)


The city of El Monte has a very high crime rate dealing with gangs, robberies and murders. El Monte is also home to one of the oldest gangs in the valley, The El Monte Flores, or EMF Gang. It is also home to many other Hispanic Street Gangs such as El Monte 13, El Monte Hicks, and El Monte Hayes, all of which are no longer active. El Monte is considered to be one of the most dangerous cities in the San Gabriel Valley, and the Los Angeles metropolitan area.

Many Local parks in the El Monte community are infested with Gang Members and Drug Dealers. Some of the most dangerous are; Lambert Community Park, Zamora Park, AND Mountain View Park.


El Monte is also famous for the cleverly titled oldie, "Memories of El Monte". The Song is in remembrance of The El Monte Legion Stadium and can be heard on many albums including Art Laboe's Memories of El Monte


The El Monte Union High School District consists of the follwing schools:


In the state legislature El Monte is located in the 24th Senate District, represented by Democrat Gloria Romero, and in the 49th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Mike Eng. Federally, El Monte is located in California's 32nd congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of D +17 and is represented by Democrat Hilda Solis.


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